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Wednesday, 17 June 1914

Senator McCOLL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) .- I shall do my best to get the informationfor the honorable senator as early as possible.

Senator Lt.-ColonelO'LOGHLIN (South Australia) [9.59].- The Minister of Defence told the Senate distinctly and emphatically that nothing would be done with regard to any proposed new regulations dealing with absent voting until both Houses were informed. We have had no information on the matter; yet I find, from this evening's Herald, that a regulation has been formulated with directions as to how absent voting is to be conducted in the future. If the statement as published in theHerald is correct, a grave injustice will be done to members of the Railway Department, commercial travellers, and others who leave their cities early in the morning, and are away for, perhaps, a week. The statement published in the Herald is as follows : -

The new regulation confines the privilege of absent voting to those who have not been within a mile of a polling booth in their own subdivision on polling day.

The polling begins at 8 o'clock in the morning, and any one who has to leave by an early train prior to that hour may have been within a mile of a polling booth in his subdivision on that day ; and, therefore, according to the regulation, will be debarred from voting altogether. If the words "within the hours of polling " were put in, it might meet the difficulty. But even that would not remove it entirely, because some people might have to leave close to the hour of 8 o'clock, even within polling hours, without having time to register their votes. In view of the Minister's previous promise, he ought to tell us what the new regulation means, and whether a correct version of it has been published.

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